Zimbabwe cricket great Andy Flower has showered praise on his legendary compatriot Dave Houghton, describing him as a tactical genius, following his instant success with the national side in recent months.
Houghton has transformed Zimbabwe from no-hopers to a very fearless and competitive side since taking over from previous coach Lalchand Rajput.
He led Zimbabwe to qualification for next month’s ICC T20 World Cup 2022 in his first assignment before masterminding T20 and ODI series victories over Bangladesh at home soon afterwards.
Zimbabwe also came very close to upstaging India in the third ODI in August before recording a historic ODI victory against Australia away from home in early September.
Former Zimbabwe captain Flower, who played alongside Houghton in their country’s first test match in 1991 and went on to coach England to two Ashes victories, recognises the effect his former mentor has had in his homeland.
The duo of Flower and Houghton are widely regarded as Zimbabwe’s best-ever players.
“He’s a genius and, although there was a lot of work to be done, I’m actually not surprised at his success and the transformation of the team under his leadership. Dave is a cricketer first and foremost; he is empathetic towards the players needs and they respond with their best performances on the field. I have great hope for Zimbabwe Cricket’s future, as do many lovers of the game around the world,” Flower said in an interview with MWP Media.
Houghton is preparing to lead Zimbabwe their first major competition since his return at next month’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
Zimbabwe will be making their return to the global tournament after a ban from international cricket due to government interference in the administration of the sport prevented them from taking part in the qualifiers for the 2019 T20 World Cup.
The Chevrons need victories against Scotland and Ireland in the Preliminary section of the tournament to progress to the main section.
They will also be quietly confident of causing an upset against the West Indies, who are also in Pool A of the preliminaries.